By Lena Grout
Flapjack Chronicle staff
The rainbow door in the middle of the Quad of Humboldt State gave off a colorful and prideful atmosphere in contrast to the dismal Humboldt sky. National Coming Out Week reached its peak on Thursday, Oct. 11, when the ERC-sponsored community brought a welcoming, brightly colored door along with inviting, supportive smiles to those who had not yet come out on campus.
“Coming out is a process of trusting and supporting, it is a person’s gift of their self wholly—without conceit,” said Sister Thereisa Love, a cheerful Sister of Perpetual Indulgence.
Love marched through the Quad, clad in red, white, and blue attire, handing out condoms and instructions on how to ward off unwanted sexually-transmitted diseases. After having handed out over one hundred condoms, she graciously held open the rainbow door for each person “in the closet” and wanting to come out.
She told each person who accepted condoms: “I want you to be happy.”
“Personally, I like the term ‘coming out’ – that you are coming out,” Sebrinna Schmidt, an advocate of the ERC, said at a Coming Out or Holding the Door Workshop the previous Monday. “It’s such a continuous process.”
To continue the merriment, the Marching Lumberjacks gathered around the door, playing and singing songs for Humboldt pride – gay pride. Wearing their usual green-and-gold glory, mixed with rainbow supplements, the Lumberjacks brought a lively group of smiles and support to join the queer community in coming out and “holding the door.”
“These events benefit the mainstream HSU students and faculty by letting them know that we’re here and we’re queer and we’re not going anywhere,” Karin Zander, fiscal coordinator of the ERC, said. “Straight and cisgender (people who identify with the gender they were assigned at birth) people often forget that there are other people in the world or that there are other communities who have different agendas.”
The Eric Rofes Multicultural Queer Resource Center sponsored the events throughout the week, such as the Coming Out and Holding the Door Workshop, a screening of Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World, and Homocoming. All events are designed to make the community a safe and comfortable environment for all who identify as LGBT and so on.
“It is so important that we make a space for each other, to show that this shared fact is a valuable expression of humanity,” Love said.
Those walking to class, or simply standing by, witnessed many comfortable members of the queer community coming out to the University. Allies, gay, lesbian, transgender, Marching Lumberjacks, members of the ERC, and more provided a very safe space within our campus.
“I love watching people who have never been out before come out for the first time and feel the wave of relief that gets swept over them,” Zander said. “It’s really quite amazing and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”
After making their way through the rainbow door, feeling accomplished and relieved, a new member of Humboldt State’s safe queer community would meet Zander at the table where they would write their identity on a brightly colored paper butterfly and post it on the poster behind her titled, “I’m coming out as…”